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Large Black bird with long Beak?


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#1 ohnewfree

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 06:22 AM

 Help! I spotted a bird today and cannot figure out what type it is!

In Mid-Michigan.

Date of Sighting 12-17-09

The bird looked similar to a crow in that its head and body looked completely black. It was larger than a crow and had a long, pale orange beak, approx. 2 to 3 inches long. Its beak looked quite rounded at the tip. To me it looked like a Rook, but as these types of birds are not found in North America, I don't know what it could have been!

 

 

Thanks. :)



#2 Shane Mercer

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 07:10 AM

I actually have no idea. Best I can think is a mutant Starling. ;)  Is there any recordings of crows with yellow beaks, I wonder.


#3 RJP

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 07:31 AM

I can think of two possibilites - a Crow or Raven that either had a weirdly colored bill or had something on it, or a Double-crested Cormorant.  It is quite late for a DC Cormorant to still be in central Michigan, but it's not totally impossible.  We retain a few here on the southern shores of Lake Michigan during most winters.

Was this around water? 



#4 ohnewfree

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 09:48 AM

Yep Actually I spotted the bird near a river. :) Thanks for all of your help.


#5 neef

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 10:05 AM

Great call RJP!  I wish I thought of that!  That was so outside the box thinking yet it should have been obvious at the same time.

#6 RJP

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 04:53 PM

Thanks, neef.  I must admit I had a little help.  After looking up the range of Ravens, I was sort of idling flipping through the field guide as I thought about this, and happened to see DC Cormorant, which turned on the light bulb.

#7 Julie H

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 07:30 PM

Randy,

Which Field Guide are you using? (And what is your avatar, a Boreal Owl? I've never seen one, and it is fascinating.)

Julie



#8 Shane Mercer

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 12:47 AM

Heh. I always figured it for a plastic lawn-owl ;)


#9 RJP

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 05:15 AM

Julie H:
Which Field Guide are you using? (And what is your avatar, a Boreal Owl? I've never seen one, and it is fascinating.)

I primarily use Sibley's.  I think having a couple of field guides is good, as the different depictions can sometimes ring a bell, so I also have the National Geograhic guide.  (Then, of course, the specialty guides on hawks, sparrows, etc. - but we'll leave those alone for now).

Yep, the avatar is a Boreal Owl - but as far as I know it's not plastic!






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